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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: July 2020

9 - The Wicked Problems of Indonesia’s Forests Require Effective Institutions to Resolve Difficult Trade-Offs

from Part II - Tools to Address Wicked Problems


The Kehicap (Symposiachrus boanensis) or Black-chinned monarch is a bird species whose entire world population of 100–200 individuals survives in a few tiny patches of forest on the remote Indonesian Island of Buano in the Moluccas. The main threat to the Kehicap is fuelwood gathering by a relatively small population of local people. The habitat of the Kehicap is a protected forest (Hutan Lindung), and local people are violating the law when they harvest fuelwood. The future of the Kehicap is a classic example of a wicked problem. There is a direct conflict between measures to protect the species and the livelihoods of local people. There are huge and irreconcilable differences in their understanding of what the problem is – or even of whether there is a problem. Policies to counter forest loss and degradation have fallen short in achieving these goals. Devolution of forest management to local communities offers promise but also challenges. Wicked problems cannot all be solved one at a time – they will cease to exist when mature and effective institutions emerge to regulate the activities of a prosperous and well-educated population.

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